Katie Howe (Mitschele)

Ph.D. 2010

Thesis Title:

Environmental and genetic manipulations rescue the axon guidance and behavior of a Drosophila model of Tuberous Sclerosis

Current Position:

Senior Search Strategist, Immunogenetic Operations and Research, National Marrow Donor Program

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

Western Washington University, BA, Psychology, 2002

Major Advisor(s):

Scott Selleck, M.D., Ph.D.


  • Dimitroff B, Howe K, Watson A, Campion B, Lee HG, Zhao N, O'Connor MB, Neufeld TP, Selleck SB. Diet and energy-sensing inputs affect TorC1-mediated axon misrouting but not TorC2-directed synapse growth in a Drosophila model of tuberous sclerosis. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30722.
  • Knox S, Ge H, Dimitroff BD, Ren Y, Howe KA, Arsham AM, Easterday MC, Neufeld TP, O'Connor MB, Selleck SB. Mechanisms of TSC-mediated control of synapse assembly and axon guidance.  PLoS One. 2007 Apr 18;2(4):e375.

Research Description:

My research interest is in creating a Drosophila model of Tuberous sclerosis (TS) that will allow me to determine how the disruption of the tuberous sclerosis complex results in the neurological and behavioral symptoms seen in this disease.

Tuberous sclerosis is a dominant genetic disorder that affects 1 to 2 million people worldwide, with symptoms including benign tumors, seizures, and autism.  This disease is the result of mutations in either of two genes, TSC1 or TSC2.  TSC1 and TSC2 encode distinct proteins that form a molecular complex.  Disruption of the TSC1/2 complex results in the disinhibition of Rheb, a GTPase activating protein.  Rheb’s downstream targets include two Target of Rapamycin-containing kinase complexes, TOR complex (TORC1) and TOR complex 2 (TORC2).   I am working on creating a model of Tuberous sclerosis and to use this to answer several questions including; discerning the role TORC2 plays in behavioral symptoms,  and determining how overexpression of Rheb affects aspects of neurodevelopment in axon guidance and synapse assembly.

Lab Rotations:

  • Walter Low
  • Harry Orr
  • Chris Gomez

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Advanced Human Genetics Teaching in Higher Education
  • Practicum for Future Faculty
  • Advanced Genetics
  • Biostatistics I

Graduate Level Minor:

  • Genetics

Conferences Attended:

  • Society for Neuroscience - Fall 2004

Committee Members:

  • Scott Selleck
  • Harry Orr
  • Thomas Neufeld
  • Michael O’Connor

Home Town:

  • Vancouver, WA
Katie Howe (Mitschele)